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Your thermostat, the electronic device that operates your furnace or air conditioner, can be both an energy and money saving device (by only heating and cooling when required) and a convenience.

The simplest thermostats have two modes: heating and cooling. In heating mode, when the temperature at the thermostat falls below the temperature you select, the furnace is started. In cooling mode, when the temperature rises above the temperature you select, the air condition is started.

Energy efficient and higher end thermostats have additional features that save you money and allow for closer management of temperature without your continual intervention:

  • remote temperature sensing: this feature allows you to place the thermometer in a different location from the thermostat
  • multi-zone: allows you to control the temperature in different parts of your house
  • day/night settings: allows you to easily "set back" the temperature when you are ready to retire
  • programmable: these allow you to input complex temperature settings, such as temperature by specific time of day and day of week
  • occupancy sensing: using various techniques, some thermostats are able to determine if a room is occupied and then change the temperature of that room.

Before buying a thermostat, be sure to make sure that it is compatible with your heating and cooling system.

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